Public Safety

Public Safety

COVID-19 Public Safety Update

March 18, 2020

Town of Hanover public safety agencies have been working in a coordinated effort to develop procedures for dealing with incidents that may be related to the COVID-19 emergency.  These procedures have been developed using the guidelines from multiple federal, state and local agencies aimed at ensuring the health and safety of our responders and the public.  This communication is intended to inform the community about some of these procedures so residents are aware and are not overly concerned if and when they see firefighters or police officers taking certain actions, such as donning personal protective equipment when at an incident.

When a call is received by the Hanover Emergency Communications Center (ECC), dispatchers will be asking all callers requesting an ambulance a series of specific questions as part of standardized criteria designed to obtain information critical to identifying any possible signs and symptoms related to COVID-19.  It is imperative that callers provide accurate answers to these questions.  This information is relayed to responding firefighters and police officers so they can take appropriate steps necessary to protect both themselves and the patient.  The public is asked to inform a dispatcher if you or anyone else in your home is self-quarantined as this information is not readily available to us.

Based on the criteria utilized by the ECC, firefighters may limit the number of crew members interacting with a patient.  A single firefighter/paramedic may enter the incident scene wearing additional personal protective equipment and assess the patient from a safe distance.  The patient may be asked to put a mask on and utilize hand sanitizer in an effort to limit exposure and contamination.  Once an assessment is made, the firefighter/paramedic may determine the need to increase the level of personal protective equipment used.  If this is done, it is being done out of an abundance of caution and does NOT indicate a patient necessarily has COVID-19. Additional personal protective equipment used by firefighter/paramedics include the use of gloves, mask, a Tyvek suit or other gown and eye protection.  Again, these measures are being taken out of an abundance of caution in an effort to protect the health and safety of responders, the patient and the public.

Information received by the Emergency Communications Center may dictate the need for police officers to also deviate from normal operations when responding to emergency medical calls.  The goal of this deviation is to protect the health and safety of these officers.

During this continually evolving situation, the ongoing support and understanding of the community is appreciated.  The number one priority of Hanover’s public safety agencies is and will continue to be the health, safety and wellbeing of our first responders and the public.

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